As seen on www.pgatour.com – Even Adam Long wasn’t certain where he stood after hitting his approach into the Desert Classic’s final hole.
Winning wasn’t at the top of his mind when he teed off in Sunday’s final group with Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin. A top-10 finish, and a spot in next week’s event, would have been nice.
Long was an afterthought in a final group that included a World Golf Hall of Famer and a Canadian playing in front of countrymen who flock to the California desert in the winter.
Long was just a 31-year-old rookie making his sixth PGA TOUR start. And then he was the champion. He won in a way that most players can only dream of: by making a 15-footer for birdie on the last hole.
Long arrived at the final hole tied with Hadwin and Mickelson. After hitting his drive into the right rough, Long hit his 175-yard onto the green. That’s when he asked his caddie to confirm that he shared the lead.
“I wasn’t 100 percent sure. I didn’t care. I had nothing to lose,” Long said.
The stage was set for him after Hadwin’s bunker shot stopped inches from the hole and Mickelson barely missed a long birdie try. Mickelon’s miss helped Long see the line for his career-changing putt. His 65th stroke of the day found the bottom of the hole.
Long, who was 20 over par in his previous five PGA TOUR starts, shot 26-under 262 on the Desert Classic’s three-course rotation. He shot 63 in the first and third rounds, then fired a 65 that was Sunday’s second-lowest score on PGA West’s tricky Stadium Course. Long, who started the final round three shots behind Mickelson, chipped in twice on the back nine. He didn’t make a bogey.